How to Write an Effective Essay Introduction | With Practice
Updated: May 4
Today, I want to teach you how to write an essay introduction. We're going to break this down into a few different parts.
First of all, what is the purpose of an introduction?
It is to interest your reader, to get them reading, to transition to the topic of your essay, and to make the main idea of your entire essay clear.
Because of this, we need an opening (or a hook), a transition, which is also called a bridge sometimes, and the thesis statement.
Hooks are the first thing that your reader sees and they should interest them and should encourage them to read further. For this reason, sometimes they are called "attention getters."
There are many different types of hooks. They can include statistics, a strong statement showing your opinion or your position on a topic, unique definitions--I want to stress the word "unique" here. We don't want to use a dictionary definition for a hook, we want to use something with an interesting twist to it. We can also use rhetorical questions, quotations, and anecdotes.
Let's look at a few examples below:
Let's practice. Think of the hooks that were mentioned and write a hook for this topic.
Here's one possible answer:
Bridges is where we want to connect our hook to the thesis statement in a smooth and cohesive way.
When talking about cohesive or cohesion, your sentences should transition smoothly or stick together. One method to create greater cohesion is to use a word or phrase that refers to an idea in the previous sentence. Another way is to restate an idea in the previous sentence before presenting a new idea. Sometimes this is called the given or the "known/new contract", where the first part of the sentence is what was said previously and the second part introduces new information.
Let's create a bridge for one of the hooks you crafted in the previous practice.
Let's take a look at the possible answer below:
Note that the bolded words above help to create more cohesion. "These companies" refers back to the homeowner's insurance agencies. "Indeed" shows the relationship between sentences 2 and 3. "Ban or restrict aggressive dog breeds" is a restated idea and "citizens" is a repeated word that creates cohesion.
The purpose of the thesis statement is to clearly and specifically state the main idea of an essay. Thesis statements have different types because there are different types of essays.
Thesis statements have some expectations or rules that guide how they're written. Typically, there should only be one sentence and should come at the end of your introduction. They should also be specific and focused. And remember that they are statements, not questions. Lastly, argumentative thesis statements should show an opinion or take a position.
Let's look at the different types of thesis statements. An argumentative thesis statement makes a claim. Explanatory thesis statements explain a topic and analytical thesis statements analyze or break down an issue and draw insights from it.
The typical structure of a thesis statement will include the topic, the position or opinion for argumentative thesis statements, and then the reasoning. Sometimes, students are taught to provide 3 reasons and reflect those in the body paragraphs that they write.
Let's take a look at the example below:
Here we can see we have the topic, we have a position or opinion, and we provide reasoning to support that opinion.
Let's get some practice. Now, create your own thesis statement for the introduction that you've started on banning aggressive dog breeds.
Now, let's put it all together. Let's take a look at one possible response to the original question below:
Remember, when you are writing an introduction, as with any type of writing, you should be going through a process. Take time to gather ideas first, plan them out, draft, revise and edit, and then finalize and submit or publish your writing.
For our final practice, write an introduction for one of the following questions below. Once you've written your introduction, have someone go over it and provide feedback on the hooks, the bridge that you've created, and your thesis statement.
You can always come back to this blog article to check if you've followed the tips and advice that have been given.